There are a wide variety of camps around the country, but choosing a youth Christian camp provides some unique benefits for your children. The following are three common characteristics to a youth camp that you may want to consider as you work to find the best facility for your children. Taking the time to research and keeping the following characteristics in mind will help you make a great choice of camps.
1. Instill Great Values in Cool Ways
Research from the fields of education and psychology has consistently shown that the core values of young people, and consequently their own worldview, are formed in their adolescent years. Kids may not even know why they believe what they believe, but they believe it, nonetheless!
In other words, values and beliefs are caught, and not necessarily taught. A well run youth program will have staff members who not only teach great lessons about God and about life, but they will model these lessons in the ways they care for kids and serve them. Many people will tell you that the love and care of counselors made a profound difference in their lives growing up.
2. Help Kids Own their Faith
A lot of church programs are run on the same model school classes are taught. Kids hear teachings and new information, there may be some short discussion, and then they are on their way to other things.
But, a well run youth Christian camp allows many opportunities for kids to get some alone time with God. These times are typically brief enough to be age-appropriate, but the key is to allow young people to “own” their faith by actually practicing some of the basic spiritual disciplines and not simply being a student in a Sunday school classroom.
3. Allow Young People to Create Great Relationships
When young people interact with new friends who share their beliefs, talk openly about them, and live a life that sincerely involves God, their own faith can grow greatly. One common meaning of the word discipleship that is found in the scriptures is to “rub off on something.”
Discipleship, in the Bible, doesn’t mean getting lots of sermons or hearing Bible lessons, it literally means that a person can rub off on others as they seek to disciple them. In other words, those who were discipled actually became like the one who discipled them. When young people are mentored by camp staff members or by other peers who take them under their wing, amazing things can happen.
So, as you research the wide range of options for summer camp, consider the unique benefits that a youth Christian camp can offer to your children.
CampPage can help you find the summer program that's just right for your family, with many to choose from throughout the United States and Canada.
Mark Dubler has been a leader, host, and participant in camps and retreats for the last twenty years. He holds an M.A. in Educational Ministries from Wheaton College and is the Executive Director of Otyokwah Camp and Retreat Center, a Christian facility with a rich history of providing personal, life-changing experiences.